Gene Shue, believed waiting to take over as coach of the Washington Bullets once the Dick Motta situation is resolved, said he doesn't feel the Bullets need a major overhaul to be successful.
"The Bullets have been a great, great franchise over the years," Shue said. "I think they can keep the same nucleus and bring in some young new life and be all right.
"There is no question they're slow and have some injury problems, but all of that can be corrected."
Among the Bullet question marks for next year is Bob Dandridge. There have been reports that he was put on the dispersal draft list Wednesday, the list that will stock the new Dallas team.
"Knowing the Bullets, I wouldn't be surprised if I was on the list," Dandridge said yesterday.
Dandridge played in only 45 minutes this season because of assorted ills, the most serious a leg injury.
"I'd go to Dallas if they took me. I don't care where I play. There are certain places I would rather go than others, though. I would prefer to stay on the East Coast or go to a team that will pay me the money I think I deserve."
Dandridge's contract expired at the end of this season, but the Bullets have an option year on it, tying Dandridge to them for one season if they excerise it.
Dandridge said he would prefer to sign a new contract rather than play out the option year of this old one, but he said the Bullets have not had any contact with him since the season ended.
"Right now, I'd say there's an 85 percent chance I won't be next year. If I can get well, it'll be a joy to go somewhere where I'll be paid what I'm worth."
Dandridge had a cast removed from his injured leg Tuesday.He had won it six weeks to correct the problem with his leg.
"The problem is compression of a nerve in the leg," Dandridge said. "They (the doctors) don't think there's any structural damage."
Bullet General Manager Bob Ferry said he is trying to improve the team's draft situation (14th pick in the first round) and is looking into a number of possible deals.
He has been unsuccessful so far in trying to trade Elvin Hayes to a Texas team. Hayes has asked to be traded to either San Antonio, Houston or Dallas.
National Basketball Association sources say such big names as New York's Marvin Webster, San Diego's Lloyd Free, San Antonio's George Gervin, Seattle's Gus Williams, Cleveland's Campy Russell and Detroit's Terry Tyler have been discussed in talks between their teams and the Bullets. However, the Bullets have little to offer in terms of high draft choices, good players or money.
Motta has said he still considers himself the team's coach and unless he gets the job he wants he will return to the Bullets next season to honor the final year of his contract -- "unless they fire me."
That could happen because the Bullets and Shue already have, apparently, reached an agreement for next season.
Former Shue players have characterized him as not being a teaching coach or a disciplinarian but as a "nice guy" who relates well to his players.
Kevin Porter, a Bullet rookie in 1972 when Shue was coach of the team in Baltimore, said Shue "was always fair. He talked to you and let you know what he wanted. I like him."
Bullet captain Wes Unseld, who played five years for Shue in Baltimore, said he remembers Shue as being "aloof" but "he was a hell of a nice person. I liked him a lot. I still do."
Shue, 49, a graduate of the University of Maryland, played 10 years in the NBA with Detroit, Philadelphia, Fort Wayne, Baltimore and New York and has been a coach for 14 seasons with Baltimore, Philadelphia and San Diego. His 526 coaching victories put him No. 4 on the NBA list behind Red Auerbach, Red Holzman and Motta.
Shue became coach of the Bullets in 1966, 26 games into the season. Two seasons later, with Unseld as the league's most valuable player and rookie of the year, Shue guided the Bullets to the Eastern Division championship. The team has made the playoffs every year since.
In Shue's seven-year tenure as Bullet coach, the team won four division championships and made it to the NBA final once, losing to Milwaukee in four games in 1971.
When the Bullets moved to Washington for the 1973-74 season, Shue did not accompany them, taking over as coach in Philadelphia.
The year before Shue went to the 76ers, they were 9-73.With Shue as coach, over the next four years, they won 25 games, 34, 46 and, finally, 50 in 1976-77, when they made it to the NBA final.
With George McGinnis and Julius Erving, the 76ers won the first two games of the championship series against the Portland Trail Blazers, then lost four straight.
Six games into the 1977-78 season, Shue was fired and was out of coaching the rest of that season.
When Buffalo moved to San Diego the following season, Shue became the Clipper's coach and led them to a surprising 43-49 record.
They had problems this year, however, losing 24 of their last 32 games. High scorer Lloyd Free had contract problems and missed some games and Bill Walton was injured most of the season.
By mutual agreement, Shue's contract was not renewed. He reportedly was paid between $175,000 and $200,000 a year by the Clippers.
Shue's teams have always been wide-open, running outfits that on the surface have lacked discipline or teamwork.
"He basically lets the players play the game," said McGinnis, who is now an Indiana Pacer.
"Gene doesn't believe in cracking th whip, but he needed to with some of us," said one Clipper. "He isn't a teaching coach or a counselor and, even though he's somehow gotten the reputation that he can handle troublemakers, he can't. He deals best with people who already know how to play the game."
The old Bullets, under Shue, were one of the premier fast-breaking teams in the league, with the likes of Unseld, Earl Monroe, Jack Marin, Gus Johnson and Kevin Loughery.
"Gene taught defense more than anything, but we had a helter-skelter offense," Unseld said. "We had a lot of individual talent and we used it."
The 76ers never blended well, and the Clippers last season also were a loose bunch. They threw up 543 three-point field-goal tries, 100 more than the next-closest team.
Shue also served as the Clippers' general manager and was largely responsible for landing Walton. He also was instrumental in the Bullets acquiring Elvin Hayes and the drafting of Unseld.
Shue said he has talked to the Bullets but he would not say if he has been offered the job. He definitely is interested, however.
The sometimes-volatile Shue was fined $3,500 and suspended for a week without pay last season when he allegedly struck an official in an argument during a game in Chicago.